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Bootleg Blindfold Series: Adam Birnbaum

Posted in Improvisation, Musical Influences with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2015 by pogo56

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I’ve been a fan of Adam Birnbaum‘s playing for several years now but had never gotten the chance to make music with him up until this past year, where I had the great fortune of sharing the stage with him on multiple occasions.   The first was at special sextet put together by saxophonist Mike Tucker for a residency at Salem State University and the second one was a great run of concerts with Darcy James’s Secret Society in the US and Europe.  Here’s the answers and comments to the test from Adam:

Example 1:  Fred Hersch, Nobody Else But Me,  live in NYC in duo with Mark Turner (year unknown).

(1) Fred Hersch playing “Nobody Else But Me.” Nothing else sounds like Fred playing solo piano. He’s simply a master and has truly developed his own language on the instrument, especially in this setting.

Example 2:  Aruan Ortiz, Ask me Now live at the Regattabar in Cambridge (year unknown)

(2) “Ask Me Now” the pianist–and the rhythm section–is very modern, but there are some elements of traditional jazz piano in there. Tough one to identify but I would guess Jason Moran.
After: I have met Aruan several times and found him to be a very nice guy, but honestly I am not very familiar with his playing so I guess that explains my difficulty identifying this one.

Example 3:  McCoy Tyner, Darn That Dream live at the Regattabar in Cambridge (year unknown)

(3) “Darn That Dream” Andrew Hill. His eccentricities (sudden changes in dynamics, thick percussive dense voicings, heavy pedal use, unusual combination of traditional and extremely modern) are pretty recognizable.

After:  Wow, did I fail to recognize McCoy on a blindfold test?! That’s jazz piano 101. However, in my defense this is a very tricky one. I’ve seen him do a solo standard in the middle of a set but it was always much more in his typical style than this. Plus Andrew Hill does this song in the same key (in F instead of the usual G) on his solo piano record “Verona Rag” so I thought it had to be him.

Example 4:  Aaron Goldberg, Impressions live in Portugal with Nicholas Payton.

(4) “Impressions/So What” Sounds like Aaron Goldberg with Hutch. Aaron is so clean and has such a great feel.

Example 5:  Leo Genovese, Berlin (Jason Palmer)  live in NYC with Jason Palmer Septet

(5) This has to be Aaron Parks with what sounds like Eric Harland on drums. Beautiful solo. Really channels Paul Bley with some of those lines.

After:  Leo is a guy I’ve been hearing great things about for years but who unfortunately I haven’t ever seen play live. This track convinced me I need to change this, so I will definitely be checking him out. Really beautiful playing here.

Example 6: Gerald Clayton, Blues live at Jazz Gallery NYC with Patrick Cornelius Octet (2013).

(6) F blues. This is the hardest of the seven for me to identify. Swinging, tasteful, I like the interaction with the drummer, but nothing about this is particularly distinctive to me. I could wager a guess but I’ll choose to pass instead.

After: Well I know Gerald pretty well and have seen him play many times, and would like to think I know his style. I’m definitely a big fan. However this one just didn’t give me anything obvious to ID him. Listening back to it now I can hear it. Oh well. Looks like I have lots more listening to do.

Example 7:  Dave Kikoski, Mr. Day live in Xalapa Mexico with Jason Palmer, Francisco Mela, Emilliano Coronel (2013).

(7) Dave Kikoski with what sounds like Jeff “Tain” Watts playing “Mr. Day.” No one else plays this kind of burn-out jazz like Kiko.

Adam currently has a new album out entitled “Three of a Mind,” featuring Doug Weiss and Al Foster.  Keep up with Adam’s latest news about this release including a Cd Release at Smoke at his website!

Blindfold Bootleg Test: Chris McCarthy

Posted in Improvisation, Musical Influences with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2015 by pogo56

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I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know this great, budding artist in Chris McCarthy over the past year. Originally from Seattle, now living in Boston, Chris has become a regular performer at Wally’s Cafe. He’s filled in wonderfully in my band on several occasions and his presence on the scene ensures that Boston will remain a stronghold for great pianists! Here’s Chris’s guesses/responses to the blindfold test:

Example 1: Fred Hersch, Nobody Else But Me, live in NYC in duo with Mark Turner (year unknown).

Within a couple of bars my instinct told me this was Aaron Parks. This reminds me a lot of the “Alive in Japan” recordings Aaron put on his website last year; where he achieves a great freedom with standard tunes and harmony. However, the touch is more percussive than I’ve heard Aaron play usually, so I’m not totally convinced it’s him.

After: My comment about the touch being “percussive” seems pretty strange knowing that it’s Fred Hersch! But listening back to the recording, there are a lot of things that should have clued me into who it was; the amazing voice leading, stretching of the form, fluid technique, all essential parts of Fred’s style. Fred has been an incredible teacher and mentor for me at NEC, and I hope he’s not offended I didn’t get this right!

Example 2: Aruan Ortiz, Ask me Now live at the Regattabar in Cambridge (year unknown)

This reminds me a lot of the sets Kenny Werner has been playing with The Fringe on Monday nights at the Lily Pad in Boston these past few months (but I doubt this is them). The interaction around the trio is great, everyone is extremely flexible and playing without an agenda of where the music should go, especially hard to do when you’re playing one of the most commonly played Monk tunes! But I’m not sure who the pianist is.

After: I saw Aruan’s group with Rez Abassi and Eric McPherson at the Winter Jazz Festival last year. Other than that I haven’t checked him out at all, and had never heard him play standards before. I’m curious to hear more.

Example 3: McCoy Tyner, Darn That Dream live at the Regattabar in Cambridge (year unknown)

My gut is telling me this is Jean Michel Pilc. He’s an incredible player, and I’ve always liked the way Pilc uses the low register of the piano in surprising ways; ‘dropping bombs’ like Horace Silver, but with more defined harmonies. I’ve also heard him use a repeated note figure as a basis for re-harmonization, and a lot of the cascading runs tells me this is someone with outrageous piano technique (such as Pilc).

After: Well that makes sense. No one makes better use of “dropping bombs” in the low register and has more outrageous technique than McCoy!

Example 4: Aaron Goldberg, Impressions live in Portugal with Nicholas Payton.

This band is dealing! It’s an interesting recording because the pianist starts out playing very lyrically. But then as soon as he gets into playing the 4th block chords the vocabulary gets so close to McCoy that I can’t really discern who it is. However, this is certainly an issue I can relate to; if I’m playing “Impressions” at a medium up tempo on a gig, all of my McCoyisms will come out whether I like it or not. The player’s melodic sense is great throughout the solo, and he’s putting the groove first, never overplaying. Xavier Davis is my guess, but whoever it is sounds truly great.

After: I’m surprised! This solo is a lot more restrained than what I’ve heard from Aaron, and also more straight ahead than I associate with his style. I’d love to hear more of him in this context.

Example 5: Leo Genovese, Berlin (Jason Palmer) live in NYC with Jason Palmer Septet

Jason, isn’t this a recording of “Berlin?” Lol! Some of the lines are really surprising harmonically. Sounds like it could be Aaron Parks, if it’s not him someone definitely influenced by him; the use of space and development of ideas reminds me of Aaron, but the melodic and harmonic content sound like someone different. Sam Harris?

After: I’ve only heard Leo on Esperanza’s records, (where he sounds great) but seeing as this solo is bad ass, I need to check out more!

Example 6: Gerald Clayton, Blues live at Jazz Gallery NYC with Patrick Cornelius Octet (2013).

Sounds like it could be Glenn Zaleski, but it’s hard to say; maybe Gerald Clayton? Nothing I heard really made me think of anyone in particular, the playing was very nice, but it sounded like it could have been a great deal of pianists from the 2000s.

After: I got one! I’ve always loved Gerald’s playing, everything he plays has a very strong vocal quality and he’s got an amazing feel.

Example 7: Dave Kikoski, Mr. Day live in Xalapa Mexico with Jason Palmer, Francisco Mela, Emilliano Cornel (2013).

Sounds like Aaron Goldberg’s trio. Aaron has amazing rhythmic vocabulary, and here he’s playing some melodic patterns that I associate with him. He’s also great at prolonging tension throughout a solo, which is definitely happening on this recording.

After: I’ve been checking out a lot of Kikoski recently. He has a trio record with Eric Revis and Jeff Watts that is off the charts. However I still maintain this recording sounds a lot like Aaron Goldberg’s trio.

Check out Chris’s music here!

Blindfold Bootleg Series: Austin McMahon

Posted in Composition, Improvisation, Musical Influences, Performance with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2015 by pogo56

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I consider Austin to be one of the most talented, acute artists of my generation to sit at the drum throne. He’s got a great sophisticated touch on the set and as a horn player, he’s VERY easy to make music with because he has a strong set of musical ears. He also co-leads the Quartet of Happiness, one of the frontrunners in introducing children to thee are of jazz and improvisation in a fresh and interactive way! Here’s what Austin had to say after hearing the test examples:

Example 1-Clarence Penn in London with Jason Palmer and Cedric Hanriot’s City of Poets (2014)

1) I love the phrasing of this example. The drummer has such command of the time amidst this syncopated (yet spacious) vamp. Although the gestures are fragmented and largely occurring within the spaces of the accompaniment, the solo has a clear shape and direction to it. I particularly enjoy the superimposition of other meters/grooves and his sonic concept. Nowadays, it seems more and more drummers are utilizing “prepared” sounds like a heavily muffled snare or additional high-pitched auxiliary drum (as heard in this example) to add a little more color to the drummer’s palette. Based on this brief example I’m not certain who this drummer is and therefore would rather be surprised and hope to check them out more in the future!

After: Ah, yes, Clarence Penn. I actually thought of him for a second when I heard the splash cymbal but didn’t put all the pieces together. I love how he’s incorporated the roll of a percussionist into his drumset playing and utilizes auxiliary percussion like wood blocks or triangles in a tasteful way. Recently I’ve enjoyed his playing on several records and live performances in recent years specifically with Kate McGarry and Maria Schneider’s orchestra.

Example 2-Kendrick Scott Tribute to Herbie Hancock in NYC (year unknown)

2) This drum intro leaves me wondering many things. The vocabulary sounds heavily influenced by the great Roy Haynes but the tuning of the drums seems more contemporary. And, the extensive use of the hihat is not nearly as common amongst modern drummers as it once was. Though this may seem like a strange take on this example my honest guess is that this is an older drummer sitting in and playing someone else’s (modern) drums. (Again, I’m consciously choosing not to mention names for lack of certainty.) Either way, if it happens to be a younger drummer, I would applaud their dedication in studying the foundation of our idiom. In my opinion, this drummer has not cut corners to get to this level of playing.

After: I’m glad to hear this is Kendrick Scott. I love his playing and he is definitely a player who has done his share of studying the lineage of the drumset (thus fooling me into thinking he was an “older” drummer). He is quite a driving force in modern jazz and has had a big influence on my playing. I really love his “Oracle” group and how well constructed the music is – not just the drumming. He’s a fabulous musician.

Example 3-Jochen Ruechert in England (year unknown)

3) Wow, this drummer is so “inside” of the accompaniment that it seems uncanny. My feeling is that this drummer is also a composer (not of this example) and thus really understands the direction of the music and can dance around and within it very liberally. The solo also makes me think that this drummer is either an extremely good reader of difficulty music or has played this particular song many times, or both. It’s very interesting to me to try to make guesses at who this may be when I hear vocabulary and cymbal sound and drum tuning that’s used by lots of contemporary jazz drummers. If this were a studio album it’s possible that some of the subtleties/individualities would stand out to me but with live recordings a lot of that is lost. Whoever it is, I like it a lot and would assume this is a very busy hardworking drummer.

After: Jochen Rueckert is on my latest favorites. I’m a big fan of his playing with Marc Copland and his electronic music project “Wolff Parkinson White”. Sometimes when I’m listening to him I feel like there was a snapshot of jazz taken in the late 1960’s and he is building upon that style, approach and vocabulary. I mean that as the highest compliment since many drummers strive to achieve what drummers of that era were doing and I think Jochen understands that language deeply. That mixed with his fiery modern edge blend to create a very exciting and engaging approach to drumming.

Example 4-Marcus Gilmore in Boston with Nicholas Payton 5tet (year unknown)

4) I find it hard to hone in on an honest guess on this one because the sound of the cymbals and drums are obscured and sound compressed. The beginning is reminiscent of a free jazz approach to time playing like that of Paul Motian with a little more modern edge which, then leads more towards a more Tony William’s influenced approach to uptempo time playing. Overall, I don’t know who this is but, I feel this solo was inspired to a degree by Tony Williams. And again, the drummer has done their homework.

After: I still wouldn’t have been able to guess this was Marcus Gilmore but now I do hear some similarities in approach to some recordings of Vijay Iyer’s trio, which feature Marcus. I love the fluidity of his playing and how he makes time and grooves feel so liquid even in very complex meters and forms. When he plays drums I feel he evokes a true love of the instrument.

Example 5-Obed Calvaire in Cambridge with Kurt Rosenwinkel 5tet (year unknown)

5) This is the first time during this blindfold test that I will actually mention a name of who I think the drummer is. I don’t know many other drummers on the scene today with such command of the instrument and ability to build a solo to peak and continue pushing upwards from there. There is such musicality and technical mastery on display here. I love his sound as well. This must be Eric Harland.

After: Obed! I remember hearing his name when I was a student at the University of Miami in early 2000’s and he was at the New World School for the Arts High School. After that when he attended Manhattan School of Music he would come sit in at jam sessions when he was visiting Miami and blow people away with his feel. It wasn’t long before he was making waves in New York’s jazz scene. Wow, what a great player! I can only hope that he’d see it as a compliment that I thought he was Eric Harland. Both are fantastic drummers at the top of the game.

Example 6-Jamire Williams in NYC with Darren Barrett and Myron Walden

6) This is an enjoyable solo with some interesting push and pull on the time feel. There are moments of an almost exaggerated swing feeling as the drummer moves around the toms as Max Roach would but meanwhile a lot of heavy cymbals and Blakey like gestures. Again, I hear a young/contemporary drummer and strong influences from the hardbop era but I’m unable to pinpoint who this may be for sure.

After: I still wouldn’t have been able to get this one but since being given the answers to this blindfold test I’ve been exploring Jamire’s music and have really enjoyed what I’ve heard so far. I’m glad he’s on my radar now. He seems to be part of the new movement of drummers who have many other musical talents and knows how to use them to create truly fresh sounding new music.

Example 7-Jeff Ballard in London with Jason Palmer, Michael Janisch, and Julian Siegel.

7) Yes, I will name another name during this test because I have no doubts that this is the one and only Jeff Ballard. His sound and vocabulary are both so refined and individual. To me, his whole approach is unmistakable and so musical. This is what jazz drumming has always been about and he makes it sound so fresh – I love this solo.

After: Yep, Jeff Ballard. I love his touch on the ride cymbal. It’s particularly on display in the later part of this example. It’s like he’s dancing on the ride and tying the whole drumset together with that sound. Really fantastic drumming and musicianship.

Keep up with Austin via his website!

Blindfold Bootleg Series: Julian Shore

Posted in Improvisation, Musical Influences with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2015 by pogo56

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Julian Shore is one of THOSE players.  And by that I mean that if you listen with intent to what he’s playing on the bandstand, you will often find yourself shaking your head in disbelief.  I’ve had the great fortune of making music with this fine gentleman for the past several years, most recently on a spring US tour with bassist Michael Feinberg’s Humblebrag.  Here’s Julian’s Test:


I do want to preface this with how difficult this was for me, given the wealth of influences present in so many pianists nowadays… A lot of these bootlegs sound like they’re pretty recent. Also I utterly stink at identifying modern pianists. I’ll do my best, but I’m not really certain with any of these! I just sort of stream-of-conciousness-ed them as I went along. I mostly just tried to pick out the influences I heard in each player, rather than definitively say one way of the other.

Example 1:  Fred Hersch, Nobody Else But Me,  live in NYC in duo with Mark Turner (year unknown).

1. My initial reaction is this sounds like Fred Hersch, so if it’s not Fred it’s someone very influenced by him. The touch sounds a little aggressive for Fred so maybe it’s not him (or maybe it’s the recording). But the material sure fits. Great contrapuntal playing between the hands, and that same bouncy feel. Even moving up to the high register with those little syncopations sounds like him. It’s slightly lacking in his normal sense of insane control at the end there I suppose, but maybe he’s just reaching for stuff. Either way it sounds fantastic whoever it is!
After:  Very cool. Fred’s really sounding so strong here, I’m curious when the recording is from. Special playing!
Example 2:  Aruan Ortiz, Ask me Now live at the Regattabar in Cambridge (year unknown)
2. Same sort of thing with the last one, only this sounds very much like Jason Moran to me. Lots of phrases and ideas I’ve heard from Jason before, and the interplay/use of space fits. Lots of cool, oblique phrases that abruptly change directions and are pulling from a very non-tonal place. And the time’s stretching all over the place. It’s nice to hear this kind of treatment of Ask Me Now, which is played so much these days. I really like it, very unique playing and it sounds like they’re really searching and playing without fear. Just playing what they’re hearing, and it’s great material. 
After:  Ahhh Aruan! Wow, I haven’t heard him in a while, but he’s always been a phenomenal player. Listening back, I’m pretty surprised I had such strong pull to Jason’s name. I think some confirmation bias took over! Regardless, it’s a free, organic and beautiful performance.
Example 3:  McCoy Tyner, Darn That Dream live at the Regattabar in Cambridge (year unknown)

3. This one sounds like an older musician to me. The facility and pedal control sound like they’ve taken a hit over the years, but it’s still a great performance. Nice dynamics and a bit of arrangement to Darn That Dream. That big, booming left-hand is really reminiscent of McCoy’s solo piano playing, especially at the end with the right hand chordal stuff. Definitely reminds me of that, but without the furious pentatonic fills that usually accompany it. Also some of the lefthand voice movement is throwing me off. George Cables maybe? 

After:  Yeah, that left hand was kind of a giveaway for McCoy. But he is really sounding great here, even though it must be quite late into his career. Certainly a departure from his earlier solo records that I’ve heard.

Example 4:  Aaron Goldberg, Impressions live in Portugal with Nicholas Payton.

4. If this isn’t Aaron Goldberg, it’s someone very influenced by him. A lot of his trademark solo material littered throughout, as well as his touch and feel. Or maybe this is one of the guys who influenced Aaron! What do I know…. Also plenty of Kenny Kirkland influence as well. Very much coming out of that 80’s/early 90’s style of jazz piano, so it’s someone inspired by that tradition (which is obviously coming out of McCoy). Could be one of those 90’s guys. Beats me! But it’s swinging and has a lot of energy so it’s fun to listen to. 

After:  Yep, Aaron sounding great as always. He’s as rock solid as they come, always so strong and controlled. Nasty!

Example 5:  Leo Genovese, Berlin (Jason Palmer)  live in NYC with Jason Palmer Septet

5. This is one of your tunes Jason, right? ‘Berlin’ maybe? I can’t remember… I think I’ve played it before once. This guy or gal sounds like they’re coming out of Herbie, not that they’re sounding like a clone or anything. That 3-2-1 minor scale thing Herbie does is present in the beginning, and then it diverges into some really interesting line playing. A little time-stretchy sometimes, and it phases in and out of the harmony creatively which I like. Lots of chops, strong playing! I’m going to guess Cedric here maybe? 

After:  To be honest I’m a little shocked this is Leo! He’s always been such a chameleon, but even then, this one seems uncharacteristic. He was actually my piano teacher in high school (via Hal Crook), though I was a total slacker (Sorry Leo!). He’s long been a huge inspiration to me, and one of my very favorite musicians. Seeing him play with Hal every week in RI was one of the biggest reasons I got into playing jazz. Sad I didn’t get this one!

Example 6: Gerald Clayton, Blues live at Jazz Gallery NYC with Patrick Cornelius Octet (2013).

6. Definitely someone who’s been listening to Paul Bley (one of my favorites!). Similar feel and variation of touch to his lines. Some of his ‘licks.’ One of the few modern guys I can think of who’s REALLY coming out of Paul is Aaron Parks, who I also love. At first I thought it might be Aaron, but then he or she plays some uncharacteristic things there at the end, pulling from Herbie and other more usual-suspect jazz piano language. Maybe a really polished younger guy who’s still sewing his influences together? I haven’t heard a whole lot from him, but I’ve always really enjoyed his playing so maybe Christian Li? Or Luke? I’m going to feel like an idiot if I’m way off-base here… Could easily be a veteran with how great the playing is (like Gerald Clayton or something).

After:  Hah! Look at that… I really thought this was Gerald, but the young kids are all sounding so great these days, and they really seem to be pulling from a similar set of influences. Thought you might be getting sneaky! And of course Gerald is still very young. He’s just incredible… brilliant player.

Example 7:  Dave Kikoski, Mr. Day live in Xalapa Mexico with Jason Palmer, Francisco Mela, Emilliano Coronel (2013).

7. More of the pentatonic-based “power piano” playing we heard in example four, but this time pulling even harder from Kenny and McCoy. Very on-top, percussive feel; pulling the rhythm section along for the ride 🙂 Maybe Joey Calderazzo? For a second I thought it might be Orrin Evans out of the sheer strength of the playing, but I really don’t think it’s him. Danny Grissett maybe? I’m not very well versed with the material unfortunately, I feel like this one should be really obvious to me. Really no clue, but it’s someone who’s terrific at this style! Really impressive piano playing.

After:  Of course, Kikoski. Don’t know how his name slipped my mind, he’s a perfect fit. Beast of a pianist!

Julian has several great recordings out, one of my favorites being Filaments.  Keep up with the latest happenings with Julian by visiting his website!

Jason Palmer Septet Live at the Jazz Gallery 2013

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2013 by pogo56

All Original compositions featuring:
Mark Shim-Tenor Saxophone
Godwin Louis-Alto Saxophone
Mike Moreno-Guitar
Leo Genovese-Piano
Edward Perez-Bass
E.J. Strickland-Drums
Jason Palmer-Trumpet

Here Today Liners for all of you that purchase Digitally!!

Posted in jazz trumpet music, Musical Influences, Performance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2011 by pogo56

Thank you all for supporting this project and this label! I’m excited to present this project of mostly original material with this NY based band (with all the members having musical ties to Boston/Cambridge). It’s indeed an all-star cast and I don’t think I could have picked a better group for the tunes that I selected for the session. It was one of the smoothest sessions that I’ve ever been a part of music wise, but at the same time, it was one that I was extremely nervous about because we didn’t rehearse and I was worried that everyone on the session would not have had time to check out the music ahead of time. As it turned out, they played the tunes like they wrote them themselves. Every song was recorded in two takes and in most cases we kept the first one. I’m really thankful for that.

The Songs

Here Today, Gone Yesterday– This song was a part of a project that I presented in 2009 in NYC. The project, “Never Before, Never After”, was a concert featuring my original compositions with the intent of premiering them the night of the concert (Never Before) and never to play them again (Never After). To me, it was a lesson in detachment from my work. The band, however, convinced me that disposing of all the tunes wouldn’t be the best idea, so we agreed to choose one of the tunes and add it to our repertoire. This tune in 7/4 time was the lucky winner!

Abu Abed– This is the newest composition (composed in the summer of 2010) on the record. The song was inspired by a story that I heard on NPR’s This American Life about a man by the name of Abu Abed. I composed this piece in 5/8 time, but it’s much easier felt and played with 5/4 time in mind.

3rd Shift– I wrote this song for my mother. For over 20 years, my mom worked the 3rd Shift in the textile industry, so this tune is dedicated to her!

Takes Courage to be Happy– I wrote this song for Abbey Lincoln in 2006. I had the honor and the pleasure of first meeting Abbey after the first set of one of her performances in Boston at Sculler’s Jazz Club on Valentine’s Day (which happens to be my birthday) several years ago. In our conversation between sets, I remember her asking me if I had my trumpet with me and if I would like to sit in with the band. I didn’t have it with me but we exchanged information and decided to stay in touch because I had many questions for her about the music. I took me about a year to muster up the courage to call her but I did finally. In the course of this conversation, Abbey suddenly says to me, “You know Jason, it Takes Courage to be Happy!” A song was born.

Skylark/I Can’t Help It– This arrangement was a part of a project that I put together for a special performance in the winter of 2009 in Boston. For this project I celebrated the music of Johnny Mercer by arranging some of his classics and fusing them with my originals and other classic tunes in the jazz and pop canon. Me, like most people in mid to late 2009, were mourning the passing of Michael Jackson. In the fall of 2009 I started to rediscover the beauty of the songs that Michael wrote and performed. I then thought of the idea of adding I Can’t Help It (composed by Susaye Greene and Stevie Wonder) to the project I was putting together at the time.

3 Point Turn– I wrote this tune for Mark Turner in October of 2008 in a hotel room in Finland on tour. One of my favorite records is Mark Turner’s Dharma Days. There’s a nice tune in 5/4 time on the record entitled Jacky’s Place. 3 Point Turn is a variation of the B section of Jacky’s Place where I borrowed the pair of chords in the bridge of Jacky’s Place and added two more pairs, making 3!!

Capricorn-This is my reharmonization of a Wayne Shorter classic.

The Players

Mark Turner– Mark Turner is one of the most influential non-trumpeters on my approach to improvisation. I spent many hours in college absorbing Mark’s playing and composing style, delving into his records as a leader such as Dharma Days and Ballad Sessions as well as the records he made with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel (The Next Step, Enemies of Energy, and Heartcore). His collaboration with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel produced music that left an indelible earprint on my jazz generation. Mark possesses many of the attributes that John Coltrane exhibited, including the idea of becoming a selfless musician and playing for more of a lofty purpose. When I listen to Mark, the absence of the ego in his playing is pretty evident to me. This project represents the first time that I’ve played with Mark. I’m extremely lucky to have him on this record.


Nir Felder– Nir’s the kind of player that has the intrinsic gift of making the listener want to move one way or another when he plays. He’s one of the busiest guitarists on the scene in NY and that’s saying a lot, considering the bulk of guitarists on the scene. I initially met Nir when he was a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston. I had the occasional pleasure of having Nir in my band at Wally’s so I was able to witness his speedy pace of musical development firsthand. Upon finishing his studies at Berklee, he then moved back to NY to further his already bright career. We reconnected musically in 2009 during our residency at the JazzUV Festival in Veracruz, Mexico.


Edward Perez– Edward has enjoyed having one of the most diverse careers in music to this day. He’s played with many of the greats in jazz (Mark Murphy, Miguel Zenon, Kenny Werner, and Ari Hoenig) to the greats in Latin music (Julio “Chocolate” Algendones, Juan Medrano Cotito, Sergio Valdeos, and Andrés Prado). Born in Texas, Edward began playing music at a young age and by the age of 13 he was a member of the symphony orchestra in his hometown. He l attended the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan as a teenager and went on to study applied mathematics at Harvard University. It was during Edward’s time at Harvard that I was able to begin a musical relationship with him. We played many nights at Wally’s, the Wonderbar, and Ryles Jazz Club.


Kendrick Scott– Kendrick hails from a rich lineage of strong, young, gifted drummers/musicians from Houston Texas. Kendrick Allen Dewitt Scott, affectionately known as KADS, attended the Houston School for Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA). This school has produced musicians such as Eric Harland, Chris Dave, Walter Smith III, Jason Moran, Robert Glasper, Mike Moreno, and Andre Hayward. We first started playing together in saxophonist Grant Langford’s band at The Goodlife in downtown Boston while Kendrick was studying music at Berklee. We later performed in the house band at the Wonderbar and Wally’s Jazz Café. Upon graduating from Berklee, Kendrick relocated to NYC and joined Terence Blanchard’s band, where he has been a mainstay ever since. Kendrick has a golden touch on the set and has strong ears behind a drum set as well as behind a studio soundboard. He is the founder of World Culture Music, a record label based in NY.

Thank you again for listening and I hope you enjoy! Until next time!

Swing it out!

Jason Palmer

Maj7+5 Workout

Posted in Improvisation with tags , , , , on September 6, 2011 by pogo56

Here’s another workout for you! Trumpeters, use false fingerings in cases where the line feels easier to play using them. Also play these in ascending order. Click here to download!

J.P.